Last updated on 1 hour ago1 hour ago.From the section England
Harry Maguire says a call from David Beckham “meant everything” after being jeered by Scotland fans.
The England centre-back scored an own goal as a substitute in last month’s 3-1 friendly win in Glasgow, while every touch he took was cheered ironically.
“I actually spoke with David about three weeks ago, after the game,” Maguire, 30, said.
“He got in touch with me so it was really nice of him and I really appreciated that.”
The Manchester United defender added: “It meant everything. I’ve spoken throughout my career about David Beckham being someone I looked up to and watched when I was a young boy.
“It shows how classy he is to reach out to me and to message me. It was something I really appreciate. It was touching really.”
Beckham, England’s third-most capped men’s player with 115 international appearances, captained his country for six years from 2000, leading them at two World Cups.
He was sent off at the 1998 World Cup after kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone. The team went on to lose the last-16 match on penalties and Beckham became a target for abuse from fans who blamed him for England’s exit.
“The whole country hated me,” he said in his recent Netflix documentary. “Wherever I went, I got abuse every single day. I was a mess.”
Maguire added: “He reminded me of the career I’ve had to date and the big moments I’ve had in my career.
“I think when you’re going through tough moments you’ve got to go through past experiences and past memories and where you’ve gone in your career and what you’ve been through.
“Every career is so up and down, especially when you reach what I’ve reached, in terms of being the captain of the biggest club in the world for three and a half years. He’s been in that position and knows what it’s like.”
Maguire, who was the world’s most expensive defender when he joined Manchester United from Leicester for £80m in 2019, has won 59 England caps and scored seven international goals.
But he has struggled for game time at Old Trafford since the appointment in 2022 of Erik ten Hag as manager – even having the captaincy taken from him.
Maguire looked set to join West Ham this summer after a £30m fee was agreed between the clubs, but chose to stay and fight for his place in the first team.
“Regular game time is important to me and has been throughout all of my career,” Maguire said when later asked about the move.
“The opportunity to go to West Ham wasn’t agreed between both clubs and myself. The actual opportunity wasn’t there as we didn’t get far enough down the line. West Ham are a massive club. I want to fight for my place but game time is important for me.”
The defender’s game time has increased lately because of injuries in the United squad; he started last Saturday, assisting the winning goal for Scott McTominay as Brentford were beaten 2-1 in the Premier League.
Maguire says he knows that even the best players in the world get criticised.
“I have had some huge plaudits over the years playing for my country,” he said.
“Probably the last year or so hasn’t been like that but the previous five I was getting loads and loads of credit.
“That’s football, that’s the way it works. You don’t just keep playing at the top and not get criticism. That doesn’t happen unless you are the best in the world and that’s probably Messi and Ronaldo, and even they still get criticised as well.
“There has been a lot of talk about me over the last year. For that talk to happen, you have got to have built your way up to be a top performer like I’ve done over the previous five years to that.
“Things haven’t gone to plan over the last year or so but I am sure it will get back on track.
“A career is a long path. Many ups, many downs, it probably has been a little blip and I am trying to be back to where I was.”
The defender also said the “faith” shown in him by England manager Gareth Southgate and his team-mates makes him feel important.
However he said the criticism he had received “probably affects my family and friends more than it affects myself, especially when I am playing in a game”.
Maguire’s mother posted a statement in support of her son after his treatment in the Scotland game.
“The last year has been a little bit difficult for them to enjoy the games as they did in the previous eight or nine years of my career,” he said.
“I’m sure that will change. I’ll keep working hard and keep fighting for my place and keep trying to put things right.”
England face Australia in a friendly on Friday, before taking on Italy in a European Championship qualifier four days later.